I have never arrived the day before embarking a cruise ship, I have never been luckily enough to afford the time, however on this trip and due to some rather costly flights, necessity won out and so we arrived in Venice yesterday. After jumping on the Venice-Mestre bus just outside the arrival hall at Marco Polo airport, we soon arrived at Mestre Station. We had intended to walk to our hotel from here, as we had read it was just 500m away, however turns out it was about 4 ms away! We called the hotel and they did advise we could jump on a bus but we couldn't find the bus stop so we just jumped in a cab and Euros 15 later we were at the hotel! The hotel was the B4 Hotel and it was in the Mestre part of Venice, kind of the middle of nowhere but the staff were polite, the room comfy , the air-con superb so it was all OK. After checking in, we made our way down to the hotels restaurant and luckily enough were in time to order lunch. We were the only ones there and the pasta we both selected soon arrived and was delicious! We had contemplated getting the bus/train into Venice itself but were pretty tired after the early start so just went out to explore the surrounding area. We found a pizzeria restaurant so decided to go there for our evening meal - pasta and pizza in Italy - its got to be done! We ate there last night and it was delicious! Would I recommend staying here? - Well if you need a good-value place to crash the day before your cruise then yes, it served its purpose - however for ease of exploring Venice probably not.
This morning we checked out of the hotel at noon, and booked a limo to take us to the San Basillio Port - for just Euros 30, which wasn't bad seeing as we were on the mainland. It was cheaper than pre-booking a transfer in the UK on this occasion, which would have been around £50. As we neared the port we could see that the main port, Bancino Stazione Marittima, was chock full of ships! Vision of the Seas and Star Princess were there, on the outside dock was some NCL behemoth, and MSC (The Magnifica, how ironic) was also there, along with a Costa ship, and a Minoan Lines ferry . There must have been around 10,000 pax embarking today! Azamara Quest was docked round the corner, in the San Basilio area, along with the Wind Star and a private yacht - very civilised and far from the crowds of the main terminal. Our limo driver dropped us off and the stewards took our cases to load onto the ship.
Check-in was simple and straightforward and within minutes we were making our way to the Azamara Quest. It was just 12.30pm, but they had started embarking at 11.30 am - it would have been nice to be notified of this early embarkation time! At the gangway we were warmly greeted and handed a glass of chilled champagne which was a lovely touch, and were advised our staterooms would not be ready until1.30pm. Time to hit the buffet then! We went up to the Windows Café for a spot of lunch - and enjoyed the complimentary glass of wine - OK so it turned into 3 glasses of complimentary wine as it was so nice! After lunch our stateroom was ready so we dropped off our hand luggage and it was time to hit Venice. As we were docked so close to town it was easy to find our way into the canals of Venice and really enjoyed discovering little back streets and hidden canals. We meandered about and soon found our way to the Rialto Bridge, then on to St Marks Square and then back to the ship - Venice - DONE!
Back at the ship one of our bags had arrived, the other hadn't. Odd seeing as they were both dropped off at the same time - it was to be over 2 hours later that the other bag would turn up, at 6.15 just as we heading out.
In our stateroom there was a lovely surprise- a bottle of champagne from the Hotel Director plus an invitation to the bridge to join the captain as we sailed away from Venice! WOW! That's a real treat and a once in a lifetime opportunity. We met up with 4 other couples in the Looking Glass lounge and were escorted by security up to the bridge. Captain Carl Smith gave us an introduction (basically don't touch anything and stay out of the way!) Champagne was served and we were soon underway cruising out of Venice. It was a real privileged to be allowed on the bridge for Sailaway, and what better port to do it in than Venice - it was a wonderful experience.
After we had made our way into open sea, we headed to the main dining room for dinner, and were sat on a table for eight with three other charming couples, two from the UK and a couple from Belgium. None had been on Azamara Club Cruises before but had selected this ship for the wonderful itinerary it does - Hvar, Split, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Korcula, and Trieste. In a number of these ports we are there until late at night too, allowing extra time for exploration or even to try a local restaurant for some regional food. Tonight's food was excellent and the menu was extensive - as always it was hard to decide what to choose - all the dishes sounded so good! I had the sea bass for main course - cooked to perfection and delicious!
After dinner we enjoyed the show and then headed up to the Looking Glass lounge, which in the evening turns into the nightclub. It was pretty busy seeing as it was the first night and soon the dance floor filled up! After a bit of dancing was off to bed, ready for Hvar!
|Author||Mrs Jill Cook|
|Date||01 August 2011|
|Comment||Sounds wonderful, we were aboard the Quest in April / May as she sailed from Asia to Europe, one of our favorite crusies. i look forward to your Blog Enjoy|
|Author||Mr Richard Griffin|
|Date||01 August 2011|
|Comment||Enjoying your blog posts as always, hope you have a fantastic voyage, the Adriatic and Dalmation coat has so much to offer.|